Smart bandage technology could push wound care into the future

AI-powered smart bandages could soon be used to treat severe wounds, monitoring the healing process and delivering various stimuli when appropriate, according to researchers from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).

The team is working alongside specialists from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, to make this vision a reality. The researchers received a contract for up to $16 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to fund its efforts.

UCSC has already investigated bioelectronics extensively and hopes this experience can help the project with its goal to reduce wound healing by as much as 50%. The idea is for these bandages to track patient progress and send the data directly to healthcare providers through an easy-to-use interface.

“It's an interdisciplinary team with expertise ranging from bioelectronic devices and machine learning to clinical medicine,” lead researcher Marco Rolandi, a professor at UCSCs Baskin School of Engineering, said in a news release from the school. “Wound healing problems affect many people, from veterans and firefighters to people with chronic diabetic ulcers, so it's important to develop a new strategy to improve the treatment of hard-to-heal wounds.”

“This collaboration, which brings together the work of engineers, scientists, and medical doctors to solve an important problem, is a wonderful example of the creativity that comes of interdisciplinary research,” Alexander Wolf, dean of the Baskin School of Engineering, said in the same statement.